Elliot Page made his first red carpet debut since coming out as trans at the 2021 Met Gala, Sunday, and did so in a way that would have made famed gay poet Oscar Wilde proud. The Umbrella Academy actor looked chic in a black Balenciaga suit with a green flower pinned to the lapel. The flower caught the eyes of queer fans, who immediately caught the reference.
The green carnation became a symbol of queer love during the 1890s. It was popularized by Wilde, who asked his friends to wear them to the opening night of his shows, and who often wore one on his own lapel as it “embodied the decadent and the unnatural,” according to Oscar Wilde Tours.
Wilde was tried and convicted of “indecency” and sentenced to two years in prison for his queerness. Fortunately, we’ve come a long, long way since the 1890s, and Page received an outpouring of praise and support on social media, as fans took to Twitter to express their excitement.
This red carpet appearance was particularly meaningful for the star, who recently opened up about the pain and “detrimental” impact that similar events have had on his mental health in the past. In an episode of The Oprah Conversation, Page shared that during the press tour for the 2010 film Inception, wearing women’s clothes took a massive toll on him. “There was so much press, so many premieres all around the world and I was wearing dresses and heels to pretty much every single event,” Page said. He described an incident where his manager had a “surprise” for him: three new dresses all laid out to choose from for a premiere night. “And that night after the premiere and at the after-party, I collapsed, and that was something that’s happened frequently in my life, usually corresponding with a panic attack,” recalled Page.
In an interview with Time in March, Page shared that he “never recognized” himself on the red carpet and couldn’t even look at photos of himself. Thankfully, those dresses are the thing of the past and he can fully embrace his trans joy on the red carpet.
Page wasn’t the only out star to celebrate their queerness on the Met Gala red carpet. Schitt’s Creek star and co-creator Dan Levy arrived in a custom Loewe look which featured the profiles of two men kissing on his chest, inspired by the work of artist David Wojnarowicz.
Out trans makeup tutorial maven Nikkie de Jager, aka NikkiTutorials, also took the opportunity to reference trailblazer Marsha P. Johnson. The YouTube makeup guru arrived on the red carpet in a floral headdress and wore a sea-green dress that bore the phrase “Pay it no mind,” Johnson’s personal motto. The dress was made by Edwin Oudshoorn Couture.